Tonight my eyes are getting heavy and my heart lighter. It’s the first day of my month, the eve of my birthday, the ending of my year of blogging and this last week or so of crazed posting before I turn sixty-four. Like other important eves of the year, this one has me looking back. My last birthday was hard. It was harder to be connected to myself than it is now. And I was completely cut off from my own home, but now I am tethered to it again, and the song of my white-crowned sparrows and the young mama hummingbird taking a bath and the new generation of lizards there in my courtyard are all part of the fabric of me again even though I am still living away from them. Now I get to visit. I get to know they don’t all think I’ve abandoned them anymore. And now I have lizard friends here, too, and my red-tailed hawk family, my two ravens and the Cooper’s hawk. I even have my mother’s white-crowned sparrows here, though they never serenade in the same way. Tonight I feel a little silly for not being able to let go of it but so glad, too, that I did not abandon my blog after all. And I feel hopeful for the year to come. And grateful, always, for each of you, coming by to read my work—and caring.
My orchid plant
and tiny shoots of the cactus
I brought home from Ajijic in 2009
sit beside each other on top of
the toilet tank
in my bathroom here
in my mother’s house
(together with the little
green plastic dinosaur who came home with me
from the hostel in the Marin Headlands)
and every now and then
especially after I water them
I stop and really take them in
rescued from my trailer home
by my dear friends
and somehow dear friends
themselves now, too
and talismans or hope or
living proof my little home
still awaits us all.
“For God’s sake,” Biden says
“this man cannot remain in power.”
I don’t have all the details
(unwise, maybe, for a president)
but it makes me like him more.
These bands of blue and yellow
must be Ukraine’s flag, I think
when I see them
in the Lalo Alcaraz strip today
How do we sit
(How do we fit inside our skin?)
The moon muted by clouds
me trudging up the steep street
(it’s a fucking 90-degree angle,
I say, angry to be prodded to walk)
I wonder if it’s so hard to climb this hill
because I am weighted down by my anger
or if it is only because I carry with me
the grief of a lifetime
but the waxing moon carries me in turn
and I am glad for the company
as I climb.
They are both still alive in the morning
one sprawled across the carpet in my room
in a patch of sun.
I know how lucky I am
because I was not loving
when I said good night
and if one of them had died
I’d have to carry that deep regret
all my days.
I’ve never been good at this, but I’ve always wanted to be. So when I get the sense for the first time that she has a message for me, I try to be able to receive it. I am surprised to get words. “Dissolve and blossom,” she tells me. I know right away she means my habit of fear, the armature that’s lived inside me all my life. Days later, in an almost dream when I am curled up in bed crying, wanting to forgive myself for being unkind to my mother in the unlooked for hours of the early morning, I see chicken wire in my heart and throat. After my fall, for a moment I understand she meant more than my fear, that her message was more akin to the sense I’ve had that I am being asked to surrender completely, to let go of all resistance, maybe, or allow all my holding on to dissolve, to slip back into the earth to become good things. I know this is impossible. But more and more in small moments, quiet tears sometimes sliding down my face, I believe in it, the incremental, invisible little bits of it, one unexpected moment here or there, and then the next.